I would appreciate help choosing a software for the Finite Elements Method (FEM).
I wish to model items like ropes, bull whips and fishing rods. (I intend to transfer the model into bio-mechanics, later.) E.g. I wish to study how the force/torque/movement applied to the handle of a fishing rod spreads to the end of the fishing rod.
I am not primarily interested in different methods of constructing e.g. fishing rods, like "should they be round or hexagonal, solid or hollow". I am interested in how they work, how the force at the handle is transmitted to the bait during a cast, and similar questions.
Many recommend Code_Aster with Salome-Meca for "FEM problems in general". It seems very advanced, highly developed and "hot". (Some more advanced docs only in French, though.)
I got the suggestion to use MBDyn. It does not have a graphical interface. But it seems adapted to my task. (It considers the movement of multiple bodies and elasticity.)
There are also many other software packages.
I have never used FEM. I know it is often used to analyze structural tension in solid objects, the flow of gases and fluids and electromagnetic fields. But those applications are a little different from my applications. My application is more focused on the movement of connected elastic objects. (I wish to model the fishing rod as connected elastic objects.) From what I have seen so far, FEM is more about "static" tension, triangulation of "uniform" matter. But I am just guessing from examples here. I do not have experience of FEM.
I thought I would start with Code_Aster, but first I would appreciate to hear what members familiar with FEM think.
The program should run on a Windows home PC. (If "absolutely needed" I can also set up Linux dual boot, but I just removed it due to storage limitations.)
So far, this is only a private project so the cost is of concern. I could consider spending up to maybe $1000 if I knew that I got something which definitely did the job better. But to me it seems open source and software free of charge are highly developed in this area.
What software is best suited for my task?
Thanks a lot
EDIT 22/6: To summarize the question: How does a fishing rod move when the fisherman casts his bait? (The fishing rod is modeled as a series of segments, the rigidity/elasticity and weight differs in each segment. A description in two dimensions will suffice.)